Shakespeare’s an app in the Big Apple

 In Modern English

Even though he is passionate about Shakespeare, New York theater producer Ross Williams understands very well that 400-year- old English is difficult even for English speakers to decipher.
But he is determined that young people have the opportunity to know and love ‘The Bard’ as much as he does. And so, what better way to reach youth than with an app?

As he recently told VOA.com “I started thinking about how I could deliver Shakespeare to people in small chunks, things that would be manageable and get people to experience Shakespeare in their day-to-day.”

SHAKESPEARE IN SHADES

Shakepeare gets an app in The Sonnet Project

The Project will start with sonnets, which are 14-line poems. All you do is download the app to your phone and get regular sonnet deliveries. Each sonnet piece is filmed at locations around New York City.

One of the locations is a typical New York City bar, and actor Ron Cohen performs the verse. He plays a seasoned barman encouraging a young male customer to check out two girls at the end of the bar, lest he miss his chance to reproduce.

“…For where is she so fair whose unear’d womb disdains the tillage of thy husbandry? Or who is he so fond will be the tomb of his self-love to stop posterity…”

Noemi Thieves is one of the directors filming the sonnets. He did not know much about Shakespeare or sonnets:

“I totally had no idea what they were, so I was completely naïve and ignorant to the whole thing. So I was like, ‘Oh, sonnet, okay, cool, whatever.’ And then I read it and I was like, ‘Ah, okay, I can do something with this … when you’re talking about what makes his language so unique, he was in a lot of ways like [Quentin] Tarantino is today. I always say if Shakespeare was an artist living today he wouldn’t be a playwright, he would be a screenwriter, he would be a filmmaker.”

Ross Williams wants people to see Shakespeare as part of pop culture, which, he claims the playwright was in his day. He hopes the films will help dispel some of Shakespeare’s mystique, and win him thousands and thousands more young fans!

 

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